If you’ve never had cosmetic surgery, you may wonder about the healing process after surgery. Of course, much depends on what cosmetic surgery procedure you’re interested in getting. There are many procedures that have minimal healing time and can even be administered over lunchtime!
And is your age a factor in the healing time for cosmetic surgery? You’ll be relieved to hear that the idea that age impairs healing is based mostly on hearsay and anecdotal information. A 2015 study by the American College of Surgeons found that the failure of a wound to close, called dehiscence, is a rare complication in cosmetic surgery. In addition, of the patients in the study, aging wasn’t associated with the failure to heal properly. The study showed that when comparing patients under 30 to older patients, there was no difference in developing wound dehiscence. Groups of patients from 61 to 70 and those older than 70 had no difference as well.
Listen to your cosmetic surgeon
First and foremost, the best way to promote good healing is listening to your cosmetic surgeon and following the instructions you’re given. If you’re told not to exercise before a certain date, not to take certain medications, etc., realize that these rules exist for a reason: your well-being in healing from cosmetic surgery.
Here are some other tips for preparing for a smooth recovery from cosmetic surgery:
- Get your home (or wherever you choose to recover) ready. If required, get a comfortable bed set up, maybe ask someone to help you or arrange for cooked meals well in advance so that you aren’t rushed as you’re getting ready for surgery.
- If it’s an outpatient procedure, arrange to have someone pick you up on time.
- If you have people in your care, such as children or parents, get someone to care for them so you can take care of yourself.
- Be patient. It takes time to heal. Swelling doesn’t go away immediately, wounds have stages of healing and you may not see the full results of your cosmetic surgery for weeks or longer.
- Don’t hesitate to call your doctor’s office with questions!
Follow post-surgical instructions
With some procedures, such as breast augmentation, your surgeon will have special instructions for you. You may be given medication to control discomfort and swelling and promote healing, but again, be sure you know how much to take and when. Let your doctor know what medications and supplements you usually take. Pay attention to instructions on whether your medications or supplements should be taken while you heal. For instance, blood thinners and aspirin may affect healing and could increase bleeding and swelling. And be sure to also let your surgeon know what natural remedies and supplements you are taking.
Tips to help you heal from cosmetic surgery
There are also other ways to help discomfort and swelling, such as icing and elevating the affected areas. Be sure to consult your cosmetic surgeon. Other suggestions include:
- Avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
- Attend follow-up appointments so your healthcare professionals can keep track of your progress.
- Don’t overexert yourself by exercising too soon, which may lead to complications and slow down healing.
- While there are general ideas on how the healing process occurs, everybody heals differently, so don’t be too worried if bruising or swelling takes a bit longer than what you’ve been told. Ask your surgeon if you’re concerned.
- Eat properly and get plenty of sleep and relaxation. Do this even before your surgery, because good nutrition and healthy habits help you heal faster. Drink plenty of fluids and eat a balanced diet after your surgery to help your body receive the nutrients it needs to heal. Be sure to consult with your surgeon about when and what to eat after your procedure.
- Stop smoking. It’s not good for you anyway and it is really bad for healing.
Maintaining cosmetic surgery results
Once you’ve healed and you’re seeing what a beautiful difference your cosmetic surgery made, you’ll want to protect your investment in yourself and do everything you can to maintain those great results, right? Here are some tips from the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery:
- Continue to exercise regularly and eat healthy as your doctor suggests. Not only will this improve your overall health, but it’s the best way to ensure great results. If you’re normally very active, you might have felt stymied during the healing process, perhaps experience some anxiety to get back into the swing of things. Don’t get discouraged.
- Eating right and waiting until it’s safe to participate in non-strenuous activities while you heal will make getting back to the gym easier later.
- Give up the smokes. We said it before and we’ll say it again: Smoking is bad for you and can impede the healing process. Nicotine affects the body’s ability to heal, which means it will take longer to recover and could cause complications such as pain, bleeding and more obvious scars. Also, watch how much alcohol you drink. Don’t be shy about letting your doctor know about your lifestyle habits and be honest; your surgeon needs to know these things to advise you how to help prepare and recover from cosmetic surgery.
Dr. Mikel Lo and his team of professionals at About Faces Cosmetic Surgery are ready to help you choose the right procedure. Schedule a consultation today to meet Dr. Lo and learn how to look your best.